Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-15-2009, 06:39 AM   #41
hal
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: [Mass Combat] Statting a fantasy army

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander
I'd allow units to count as more than one type, but only one at a time. That is, the Old Red One is either Heavy Infatry with Fine equipment or Bowmen with Very Fine (since Bowmen are usually more lightly equipped). It would probably have to disengage for one round (not contribute its TS) to switch roles.
For clarification purposes - what is it that you envision your unit is taking a round to do in order to switch roles? For example? If the unit is fighting as an infantry unit, chances are good that it is no where near a resupply logistics unit capable of re-equiping the unit with the weapons it utilizes.

One might wonder if instead, you should be treating the entire unit as a composite unit comprised of units that are melee and units that are archer - all within the same unit. For example? Suppose your unit were comprised of 10 elements with the ability to function on the line as melee and as fire. Half of those 10 elements (or 5) are strictly archer units with extra equipment, while the other 5 elements are stictly melee units. Thus, your composite unit is both a fire unit and a melee unit. In theory, the entire unit is "Both", but their equipment is a composite of both functions. Just a thought.
hal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2009, 07:37 AM   #42
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: [Mass Combat] Statting a fantasy army

Quote:
Originally Posted by hal
For clarification purposes - what is it that you envision your unit is taking a round to do in order to switch roles? For example? If the unit is fighting as an infantry unit, chances are good that it is no where near a resupply logistics unit capable of re-equiping the unit with the weapons it utilizes.

One might wonder if instead, you should be treating the entire unit as a composite unit comprised of units that are melee and units that are archer - all within the same unit. For example? Suppose your unit were comprised of 10 elements with the ability to function on the line as melee and as fire. Half of those 10 elements (or 5) are strictly archer units with extra equipment, while the other 5 elements are stictly melee units. Thus, your composite unit is both a fire unit and a melee unit. In theory, the entire unit is "Both", but their equipment is a composite of both functions. Just a thought.
Resupply?

The unit I'm talking about already has crossbows and bolts. They just don't use them while they are fighting as infantry. They either carry them in bags issued for the purpose or leave them with the baggage in the rear rank/reserve.

The round is to ready weapons and change from a formation meant for melee fighting into a formation meant to allow volley fire.

For a real world example, the round would be to allow Light Company skirmishers to fall back to the rest of the battalion and deploy into line instead of their customary skirmish order.

Frankly, with rounds taking up to 30 minutes, it's pessimistic for them to take a whole round for it in many cases. For example, I think the Sassenach Light Companies could deploy into line in several minutes, not a half hour.

But I'll start with it this way and maybe I'll change it later.
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2009, 07:47 AM   #43
Dinadon
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: [Mass Combat] Statting a fantasy army

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander
They are, effectively, cross-trained to the extent that they can do both jobs.

Why is it impossible to keep a regiment that can function either as Bowmen (in case of a siege or when defending someting) or as Heavy Infantry (during battles where they want to close)? The tactical flexibility is worth something and though a larger country might gain more benefit from specialising, this is specifically a small city state that has comparatively few men, but has historically been very rich for its size.
It isn't impossible, it's impractical. Taking the time to train a group of men to do two things could also be spent training both halves of the group twice as well at one thing. On the march, you only want to carry the stuff you'll be using in battle that day, the same can be said in a siege or at a guard post. You can't know in advance if you'll need archers or infantry, so it's better to have half infantry and half archers. Plus, bowmen work best when they have infantry in front of them to prevent them being overrun. I am slightly surprised you haven't actually got dedicated archer units, not even as levies.
If you really want people who can perform in both roles adequetly, buy bowmen with the Hero modifer and have it change their TS to equal Heavy Infantry. A realistic approach would be Bowmen with both Good Training and Good Equipment, but they will never be as good as similiarly modified Heavy Infantry. In either case, it just becomes a feature that they won't add to fire superiority in some battles. And don't forget to change the elements name and to modify the description as appropiate.
Quote:
In fact, I think that a lot of historical units would be capable of switching between two roles depending on the tactical situation. British infantry battalion had a company of Light Infantry that was equipped and trained to stand in the line of battle as normal Line Infantry during intense battles, but was also capable of serving as Skirmishers.

Those were simply men picked from the rest of the battalion for their intelligence and ability to function outside of the battleline, but that didn't mean they suddenly lost the ability to perform as the Line Infantry they had been trained as.
There's nothing to say how your troops form up on the battle line. If your battle stratergy calls for your Skirmishers to form up with your Line Infantry, there's nothing stopping you. However, training them as Skirmishers detracts from time that could be spent training them as pure Line Infantry, and may also mean that they travel lighter. If your Skirmishers aren't any less effective (in terms of TS), then you should be applying Quality and Equipment mods so they do match up with your Line Infantry.
Quote:
I think that an ability representing such capability (Multirole +20% or +25%) is necessary. It would take a round or so to switch roles and the TS might be different in each of them (in fact, it nearly certainly would be).
To which I would just say this is covered by the training and hero modifiers. Changing TS normally has no effect after the battle has started. Even if you are going to track the changes, if the overall effect is similar to just applying improved training to the weaker of the two types then do the simplier effect.
Dinadon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2009, 08:03 AM   #44
Dinadon
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: [Mass Combat] Statting a fantasy army

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander
Resupply?

The unit I'm talking about already has crossbows and bolts. They just don't use them while they are fighting as infantry. They either carry them in bags issued for the purpose or leave them with the baggage in the rear rank/reserve.

The round is to ready weapons and change from a formation meant for melee fighting into a formation meant to allow volley fire.

For a real world example, the round would be to allow Light Company skirmishers to fall back to the rest of the battalion and deploy into line instead of their customary skirmish order.
I think your flaw is comparing TL 5 armies to TL 3 armies. Changing how your unit is deployed is relatively trivial compared to switching weapons. How exactly does your unit manage to untangle itself from the mess of melee without the enemy just following, or breaking through your battle line? Where do they put their shield and spear so that it isn't in the way? What about their quarrel and crossbow? Falling back to the baggage train isn't the best option, and keeping it on them can mean opponents may damage the crossbows.
Dinadon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2009, 08:16 AM   #45
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: [Mass Combat] Statting a fantasy army

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinadon
It isn't impossible, it's impractical. Taking the time to train a group of men to do two things could also be spent training both halves of the group twice as well at one thing. On the march, you only want to carry the stuff you'll be using in battle that day, the same can be said in a siege or at a guard post. You can't know in advance if you'll need archers or infantry, so it's better to have half infantry and half archers. Plus, bowmen work best when they have infantry in front of them to prevent them being overrun. I am slightly surprised you haven't actually got dedicated archer units, not even as levies.
There isn't a strong tradition of archery among these people. There is one dedicated archer unit, but it belongs to another Division and is usually assigned to garrison the city.

I'm not sure how impractical this is. Consider all the roles that a modern soldier is capable of filling. He's recon as well as fire. This is just projecting that development into an earlier (alternate) TL. Magic means that command and control is made easier and fewer people are needed to work in acriculture. That, in turns, will hasten the development of professional, full-time militaries.

Professional full-time soldiers have spare time that can be spent on getting them to learn more military skills than levy can.

Yes, I'm aware that specialisation yields better results in terms of combat efficiency. But that doesn't account for the fact that small forces platoons often have to patrol and fight battles on their own. Having the ability to detail some elements to Bowman duty and others to Infantry duty, with the precise mix varying depending on what support is available, is valuable.

This army is trying to do the duty of low-intensity warfare patrolling while retaining the ability to fight set-piece battles. Doing both at the same time is more expensive than just doing one, but really, many of drills and techniques used carry over. A recon trooper, a bowman and an infantryman all have to know how to march a long way, pitch a camp and defend it, etc.

I think Alternate Ability is a fair way to price it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinadon
If you really want people who can perform in both roles adequetly, buy bowmen with the Hero modifer and have it change their TS to equal Heavy Infantry. A realistic approach would be Bowmen with both Good Training and Good Equipment, but they will never be as good as similiarly modified Heavy Infantry. In either case, it just becomes a feature that they won't add to fire superiority in some battles. And don't forget to change the elements name and to modify the description as appropiate.
What's not realistic about units trained for more than one role? It's a feature of modern warfare and it's possible that alternate universes might feature modern troop types (with less powerful weapons) earlier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinadon
There's nothing to say how your troops form up on the battle line. If your battle stratergy calls for your Skirmishers to form up with your Line Infantry, there's nothing stopping you. However, training them as Skirmishers detracts from time that could be spent training them as pure Line Infantry, and may also mean that they travel lighter. If your Skirmishers aren't any less effective (in terms of TS), then you should be applying Quality and Equipment mods so they do match up with your Line Infantry.
Just above someone told me that it is how a unit fights that determines what unit type they are. And how a unit fight is something that can be changed much more easily than it can be requipped.

Light Companies carry the same equipment (functionally) and are given about equal training to other soldiers. What differs is that they are pretty much the same when part of the battleline but can also perform in another role.

That is, they have Multirole capability. ;)

Making normal infantry Average Line Infantry and them Good Skirmishers might give a similar result, but that would not work if, for example, this was a Good Line Infantry Regiment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinadon
To which I would just say this is covered by the training and hero modifiers. Changing TS normally has no effect after the battle has started. Even if you are going to track the changes, if the overall effect is similar to just applying improved training to the weaker of the two types then do the simplier effect.
I think that the system as written is much too simple to allow it to account for all the things that PCs do and as such, it will need to be complicated considerably before I can use it.

I want to track each unit TS individually because PCs often command only part of a force. I'd like for it to be possible for the left under Sir Michael to overrun the orcish force facing them, but be made unable to pursue due to the need to reinforce the faltering centre under Major sar Kazar.

As written, the system leaves all of these decisions to the GM with no guidelines on how player actions will influence the results for each individual force. I'll need to change that.
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2009, 08:20 AM   #46
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: [Mass Combat] Statting a fantasy army

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinadon
I think your flaw is comparing TL 5 armies to TL 3 armies. Changing how your unit is deployed is relatively trivial compared to switching weapons. How exactly does your unit manage to untangle itself from the mess of melee without the enemy just following, or breaking through your battle line? Where do they put their shield and spear so that it isn't in the way? What about their quarrel and crossbow? Falling back to the baggage train isn't the best option, and keeping it on them can mean opponents may damage the crossbows.
This is a TL3+1 army that is specifically using TL5 infantry tactics.

The crossbow is kept on them, in a padded bag. Yes, that adds weight, but then again, soldiers have often been loaded heavily and it rarely kills them. Might wish it did, but it usually doesn't. Of course it can be damaged in battle, but that's what battle does. It kills or wounds soldiers and damages equipment. That's why casualties give a penalty on Strategy.

And a unit that's locked in melee would usually not consider changing roles. At that point it's too late. It's stuck as Medium Infantry for the rest of the fight.

When working as Bowmen, they will usually try to put the spears and shields in front of them, to act as a barrier and some cover. The spears have a small butt spike to facilitate being stuck in the ground and the shield is designed to stand upright if lashed to a spear.
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2009, 08:53 AM   #47
Dinadon
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: [Mass Combat] Statting a fantasy army

Then perhaps what you have aren't infantry, but TL(3+1) Crossbowteers. :)
But I'm spent for the day.
Dinadon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2009, 11:08 AM   #48
hal
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: [Mass Combat] Statting a fantasy army

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander
Resupply?

The unit I'm talking about already has crossbows and bolts. They just don't use them while they are fighting as infantry. They either carry them in bags issued for the purpose or leave them with the baggage in the rear rank/reserve.

The round is to ready weapons and change from a formation meant for melee fighting into a formation meant to allow volley fire.

For a real world example, the round would be to allow Light Company skirmishers to fall back to the rest of the battalion and deploy into line instead of their customary skirmish order.

Frankly, with rounds taking up to 30 minutes, it's pessimistic for them to take a whole round for it in many cases. For example, I think the Sassenach Light Companies could deploy into line in several minutes, not a half hour.

But I'll start with it this way and maybe I'll change it later.


Since I'm going on "suspicion" based on reading about medieval battles and the like, I would suggest that if you use the concept of having your unit fall out, get the weaponry/supplies required to take on a different function than that of a normal military unit - that you might want to use a three turn penalty. What you're suggesting is happening is this:

Phase 1: Fall out of battle line and move into column formation.

Phase 2: Move to resupply point, which for a logistical unit is likely at the baggage train or offset from the battlefield so as to avoid it being over-run.

Phase 3: Fall out of column order to line up and grab their gear

Phase 4: Line up in column order (for marching that is)

Phase 5: move back to location for battle.

Phase 6: fall out of column order and reorganize into battle order.

Phase 6: advance back into battle.

Those phases are of interderminant order, but depending on how many men are involved in doing this, I'm guessing you will lose the better part of an hour at the very least. Mind you, I'm basing it only on what I've read and I am not a history expert on battlefield conditions etc. It just doesn't pass the "Smell" test so to speak. If you feel that this is acceptable - then go for it :)
hal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2009, 11:25 AM   #49
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: [Mass Combat] Statting a fantasy army

Quote:
Originally Posted by hal
Since I'm going on "suspicion" based on reading about medieval battles and the like, I would suggest that if you use the concept of having your unit fall out, get the weaponry/supplies required to take on a different function than that of a normal military unit - that you might want to use a three turn penalty. What you're suggesting is happening is this:

Phase 1: Fall out of battle line and move into column formation.

Phase 2: Move to resupply point, which for a logistical unit is likely at the baggage train or offset from the battlefield so as to avoid it being over-run.

Phase 3: Fall out of column order to line up and grab their gear

Phase 4: Line up in column order (for marching that is)

Phase 5: move back to location for battle.

Phase 6: fall out of column order and reorganize into battle order.

Phase 6: advance back into battle.

Those phases are of interderminant order, but depending on how many men are involved in doing this, I'm guessing you will lose the better part of an hour at the very least. Mind you, I'm basing it only on what I've read and I am not a history expert on battlefield conditions etc. It just doesn't pass the "Smell" test so to speak. If you feel that this is acceptable - then go for it :)
Why are you assuming that new equipment is needed to perform a new role?

Men in mail and with spears can perform any role from Light to Heavy Infantry without changing gear at all. Sure, they'd be unusually well equipped Light Infantry, but that's okay.

And in GURPS terms, putting a spear and shield down and Readying a crossbow won't take more than a few seconds.

What baggage train are you talking about? These are small units of men who carry their own baggage and the closest thing they get to a baggage train under patrolling circumstances is their pack which they drop several paces behind their lines. A squad sometimes acts as reserve and guards these packs.

Even if they were fighting in a field army with a baggage train you can be certain that no proper officer would allow them to stash the few pounds that padded bag, crossbow and bolts represent in the rear. Those stay with each platoon if there is a chance they'll act as missile troops.

Note that even if you assume that the gear is stashed in the rear, the six-phase drill that you assume is still excessive. Why form a column when marching behind your own lines? If a unit of infantry that has not yet engaged and is not threathened needed to re-equip with crossbows in a hurry, what's stopping them from falling out for formation, running to the back and fetch gear and then form up again once that's finished?

They stash their own gear, each person is responsible for knowing where it is and it's not necessary to be in formation when fetching it. If they train for this manuever, it is easily possible to keep the crossbows seperate from the rest of the gear and send a few runners to fetch only those mules with crossbows and bolts on them.

Imagine if no unit could send runners for extra ammo unless they were formed up in column!

And that is if we assume that the extra weight is too much to carry. Given that patrols are usually less than a day and they carry little food on the road, even with the addition of the crossbow and bolts, this unit actually has less gear than a Roman legionary. It might well be that in pure combat efficiency, ten more pounds of mail per person would be a better investment. But they have to perform other duties than front-line warfare and for patrolling or small engagement it often suits them to be missile troops.
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2009, 12:20 PM   #50
balzacq
 
balzacq's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Seattle, Washington
Default Re: [Mass Combat] Statting a fantasy army

Quote:
Originally Posted by hal
Since I'm going on "suspicion" based on reading about medieval battles and the like, I would suggest that if you use the concept of having your unit fall out, get the weaponry/supplies required to take on a different function than that of a normal military unit - that you might want to use a three turn penalty. What you're suggesting is happening is this:

Phase 1: Fall out of battle line and move into column formation.

Phase 2: Move to resupply point, which for a logistical unit is likely at the baggage train or offset from the battlefield so as to avoid it being over-run.

Phase 3: Fall out of column order to line up and grab their gear

Phase 4: Line up in column order (for marching that is)

Phase 5: move back to location for battle.

Phase 6: fall out of column order and reorganize into battle order.

Phase 6: advance back into battle.

Those phases are of interderminant order, but depending on how many men are involved in doing this, I'm guessing you will lose the better part of an hour at the very least. Mind you, I'm basing it only on what I've read and I am not a history expert on battlefield conditions etc. It just doesn't pass the "Smell" test so to speak. If you feel that this is acceptable - then go for it :)
To me it sounds like what Icelander's suggesting is the sort of thing that happened at Agincourt: excellent bowmen put the enemy knights into a confused and combat-ineffective state, then dropped their bows and killed hundreds with hammers, knives and pickaxes.

What he's ignoring is that, essentially, you can't socket bayonet a crossbow. The specific weapons advance that made Napoleonic infantry tactics work was the fact that their weapons were both musket and pike. In TL 0-4 Mass Combat terms, then, they were both Infantry and Fire troops.

But bayoneted muskets weren't as good as actual pikes -- good cavalry could and did break mediocre infantry, even in square. And those excellent bowmen at Agincourt (good quality, fine equipment) made crappy infantry; it was only because the French were essentially already defeated that they were able to inflict so many casualties in melee -- standing in line of battle with those axes and hammers they would have been routed in minutes.

I think it should be possible to cross-train heavy infantry to be crossbowmen, or medium cavalry to be medium infantry; I just think that it should be ridiculously expensive to do so. We're not talking about training skirmishers to stand in line and use basic musketry skills (light infantry regiments did not have the same staying power in the line as regulars, by the way), we're talking about what in modern terms would be cross-training helicopter crew to be infantry -- they can do it, but only at the cost of their former skill set, and if they want to excel at both then they need to spend all their time intensively training like SEALs. (Good helicopter crew changing to Poor helicopter crew plus Average Infantry.)

As a house rule, I'd say that adding an extra capability (F to Cav/Inf, Inf to Cav, Cav to Inf) to an element should increase the raise/maintain cost by 50% per quality level of the capability. That is, adding F to a Heavy Infantry of Good Quality would cost +50% for Poor F quality, +100% for Average F quality, etc.

I think it's much more likely that Icelander's 1st of Foot regiment would have a 70/30 mix of heavy infantry and crossbowmen elements. Platoon-sized task forces could cross-attach these at will (4 inf + 1 xbow). The crossbowmen could stand in battle line if absolutely necessary in emergencies, but would be better used behind the line of battle or manning fortifications. This would be cheaper, easier to train, faster to raise, for a minimal tradeoff in pure infantry combat power.

(Also note that he didn't specify the crossbows for the 1st Foot in his original post, which is why I didn't stat them thus above.)
__________________
-- Bryan Lovely

My idea of US foreign policy is three-fold:
If you have nice stuff, wed like to buy it.
If you have money, wed like to sell you our stuff.
If you mess with us, we kill you.
balzacq is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
forgotten realms, mass combat

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:51 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.